The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit alleging that the CVS-owned MinuteClinic fired nurse practitioner Paige Casey from her northern Virginia job after Casey refused to violate her religious beliefs and provide “abortion-causing drugs.”
“Casey’s religious objection never posed an issue to coworkers, patients, or supervisors, and just two days before she was fired, she received a merit-based pay increase. For three and a half years, CVS respected Casey’s religious beliefs by allowing her to decline to provide or facilitate the use of abortion-inducing drugs. But in January, CVS informed her that they would no longer accommodate her faith and fired her a few months later — directly violating Virginia’s Conscience Clause,” the ADF said in a press release.
According to the lawsuit complaint, in December 2021 Casey, who follows the Roman Catholic faith, submitted a letter to CVS requesting a religious exemption “reiterating her religious belief that life begins at conception and that she therefore cannot participate in providing abortion or abortion-causing drugs, including hormonal contraceptives.”
The ADF press release says the Catholic faith also prohibits Casey from providing emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella.
In several communications in 2022, CVS informed Casey that they would stop accommodating that request, eventually firing her in April.
The lawsuit states, “The Virginia Conscience Clause expressly states the Commonwealth’s public policy prohibiting employers from terminating medical-professional employees for failure to participate in abortion.”
The ADF is seeking a jury trial, $100,000 in damages, and legal fees.
“Corporations like CVS cannot defy the law by firing professionals who want to work consistently with their faith,” ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle said in the release. “Paige had a spotless record of caring for patients, yet CVS decided to abruptly fire her solely because of her religious belief that life begins at conception.”
CVS Corporate Communications Executive Director Mike DeAngelis told The Virginia Star that hormonal contraceptives are not abortifacients – drugs that induce abortions.
DeAngelis stated: “We have a well-defined process in place for employees to request and be granted a reasonable accommodation due to their religious beliefs, which in some cases can be an exemption from performing certain job functions. It is not possible, however, to grant an accommodation that exempts an employee from performing the essential functions of their job. MinuteClinic does not provide abortion care or services, but educating and treating patients regarding sexual health matters – including pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infection prevention, screening and treatment, and safer sex practices – have become essential job functions of our providers and nurses. We cannot grant exemptions from these essential MinuteClinic functions.”
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.